Musician finds healing in composition


    By Dale Rowse

    The bar scene in South Carolina is an aspiring musician?s dream come true, but Ashley Garbe Rogers has left that behind and returned to Utah.

    In the summer of 2002, Ashley Garbe married Wyatt Rogers. They played in a Provo band together before marrying and moving to South Carolina, where Wyatt attended helicopter school and Ashley played for crowds in bars and cafes.

    After Wyatt was killed eight months ago in a helicopter accident, Ashley decided to move back to Provo to perform. Now she is recording a CD and hopes her music will reach others in need.

    ?Music had been my therapy the last eight months,? Ashley said. ?Writing songs has helped me cope with the loss of my husband.?

    At Muse Music?s ?Acoustic Showcase? Thursday night, Ashley performed ?Last Day,? a song she wrote two weeks after her husband?s accident. It was her first concert since Wyatt?s death.

    ?The song is about living like today is your last day,? Ashley said. ?Even though it?s clich?, I think it helps people to hear it from someone who has been there.?

    Ashley said writing music after the accident was what kept her from becoming depressed.

    ?I knew I needed an outlet, so I started putting thoughts on paper,? she said. ?I carried a notebook with me, and when I was ready to organize my thoughts, I wrote lyrics and then music that fit the feeling of the words. My most profound thoughts come out in my music.?

    Ashley said writing music is therapeutic, but her greatest comfort comes from the gospel.

    ?We were married in the temple, so I know we will be together again,? Ashley said. ?That reminds me of my true inspiration and where my talent comes from, my Heavenly Father. I had to remember through this that leaving earth is a blessing, so while my songs are sad, there is always a ray of hope.?

    Ashley said listening to music written by other people has also helped her cope.

    ?The hymns of the church especially have helped me through this time,? she said. ?It has helped me to hear what other people have felt and gone through. I just hope that I can do that for other people with my music.?

    Ashley is writing, performing and recording music full-time until May, when she plans on going back to school to get degrees in music and teaching. Her album?s release is scheduled for this summer.

    Al Deans, a member of local band The Abilene Paradox, said the album is in the pre-production phase.

    ?I played with Ashley and her husband before when they were in Provo, and now I?m helping her produce her album,? Deans said. ?I?ll be playing guitar and bass. Ashley has already written a lot of the music and we will record the album in a mobile studio that a friend of ours owns.?

    Many of Ashley?s family and friends attended her show at Muse Music. Ashley?s sister, Whitney Garbe, said she was excited for her sister.

    ?I?m really proud of her,? Whitney said. ?She has accomplished a lot in her life. I critique her a lot, but I really do feel proud when I hear her perform.?

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